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al ens u n n Que A 15thion of at r b e Cel
E H T
N IS Queensâ€™ Largest Weekly Community Newspaper Group
JUNE 28, 2012
QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 2
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MARK WEIDLER President & Publisher SUSAN & STANLEY MERZON Founders Raymond G. Sito General Manager Peter C. Mastrosimone Editor-in-Chief Liz Rhoades Managing Editor Anna Gustafson Senior Editor Michael Gannon Editor Josey Bartlett Associate Editor AnnMarie Costella Assistant Editor Terry Nusspickel Editorial Production Manager Rya Bodlander Production Assistant Jan Schulman Art Director Moeen Din Associate Art Director Ella Jipescu Associate Art Director Ehsan Rahman Art Department Associate Richard Weyhausen Proofreader David Abramowitz Corporate Sales Lisa LiCausi Office Manager Rosemary Ray Accounting Stela Barbu Administration Senior Account Executives:
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• New schools on the horizon ................... 4
• York College’s Academic Village ............15
• Bigger and better parks ......................... 6
• A jazzed up Armstrong Museum ...........18
• Airports land some upgrades ................. 7
• Meet the Mets’ next stars .....................19
• New libraries, modern libraries ............... 8
• The changing face of Flushing ...............19
• The West Point of police academies ......10
• Fixing up the Bowne House .................. 20
• The restoration of Jamaica Bay ............. 11
• St. Mary’s Hospital expansion ...............21
• The development of LIC ........................12
• Visions of our elected officials .............. 22
• Caution: roadwork ahead ......................14
• A tale of two buildings .......................... 26
• Cancer Center program grows ............. 28
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A LOOK AT WHAT’S NEXT FOR QUEENS 15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
by Peter C. Mastrosimone
ew schools with space for thousands of students. A police academy touted as the Editor-in-Chief West Point of law enforcement training. Expanded parkland. Bigger and better libraries. More residential skyscrapers on the East River. These are just some of the new developments coming to Queens in the near future, as the borough continues to grow and move into the 21st century. We detail all of them, and much more, in this, our 15th Annual Celebration of Queens special edition, The Future is Now. For many of the initiatives, the borough’s future indeed is at hand. The police academy, located in College Point, is under construction and going up on schedule, though it will be built in two distinct phases, and the timetable for the second is not yet set. Four new schools will be opening in September: high schools in Maspeth and Long Island City, a combination elementary and intermediate school in Jamaica, and a boys-only academy serving grades six through 12, also in Jamaica. The environmental restoration of Jamaica Bay continues
apace, as government at all levels and dedicated volunteers work to reverse decades of ecological abuse. TF Cornerstone is building a series of high-rise condos on the Long Island City waterfront, and the city is laying the groundwork for more new housing nearby at Hunter’s Point South. Many of the units will be marked affordable, only available to those within a certain income range. On the other side of the borough, St. Mary’s Hospital for Children is nearly finished with an expansion that will nearly double the facility’s size. Other projects haven’t been started yet but are expected to get underway soon. Torsney Playground in Sunnyside is undergoing reconstruction this summer, with a revamped dog run and other features. In Flushing, the long-awaited restoration of the historic Bowne House — a 17th-century cradle of religious liberty — could begin as early as this fall. And construction of a visitors’ center across the street from the Louis Armstrong House Museum is expected to start early next year. Yet more developments are expected further down the road. New York Hospital Queens in Flushing is expanding its cancer program and plans an addition to the building, but
fundraising for it has only just begun and a property acquisition that may be part of the project would also take time. A new academic building and conference center at York College is in the design stage, and the funding for it is included in the school’s capital budgets of the next several years. At 160,000 square feet, the nine-story building will offer four times as much space as the one it’s replacing. Back in Flushing, the mayor recently announced a new redevelopment plan for Willets Point, but the city has a long process to go through before work on it can begin — and a group of business owners there continues to fight the project in court. In nearby Flushing Meadows Park, the US Tennis Association plans to replace the Louis Armstrong Stadium with a larger one, and do other work that is expected to take eight years. Finally, we look further into the future through the eyes of a number of our elected officials, who offer their hopes and dreams for everything from expanded train service to revitalized shopping corridors and storm sewer upgrades. Newspapers are good at reporting what has happened. Here we focus on the harder job of reporting what may happen next, for better or worse, in the borough we’re all proud to call home.
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15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 4
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A FOCUS ON BUILDING SCHOOLS THE
City says new buildings W and additions will ease O N overcrowding in Queens IS
by Anna Gustafson Senior Editor
ong notorious for its overcrowded classrooms — for trailers lingering in school yards for years longer than expected and teachers holding lessons in closets — Queens will be getting some relief with a slate of new schools and additions over the next two years. About 6,000 seats will be added to the borough in seven schools — three in Long Island City, two in Jamaica, one in Corona and one in Maspeth — over the next two years, which city education off icials said will help to decrease class size in neighboring institutions. Still, the officials, as well as others in the education field, said the new seats are not a panacea for the borough’s schools that are bursting at the seams and said thousands of more seats are needed to address the wave of students that continue to arrive in Queens. “We identif ied a need for 50,000 new seats citywide, but unfortunately we were only funded for 28,000 seats,” School Construction Authority President Lorraine Grillo said during a presentation about classroom seats at Queens Borough Hall earlier this month, in reference to the city’s five-year capital plan that ends in 2014. The city did pour a little more money into the capital plan, and about 33,000 seats have been funded, but the SCA said there remain 6,380 seats that are unfunded but needed in Queens. Four new schools will open this September, including Maspeth High School, which will have 1,119 seats; Middle College High School in Long Island City, with 820 seats; PS/IS 277 in Jamaica, slated to have 665 seats; and Eagle Academy in Jamaica — which is being relocated from Springfield Gardens. The Springfield Gardens site now has about 164 students; at the Jamaica location there will be about 600 seats.
An addition at PS 29 in College Point will also open this fall with 232 seats. In September 2013, the city will open 1,071 seats at IS/HS 404 in Hunters Point, 432 seats at PS 287 in Corona and 578 seats at PS/IS 312 in Long Island City. Additions to Richmond Hill High School and PS 87 in Middle Village will bring another 402 and 140 seats, respectively. While city officials, as well as legislators and Community Education Council presidents said they are thrilled to have the incoming seats, they also stressed the need to continue to build in Queens. “The situation, as you know, in Queens is dire,” Grillo said. “We’ve been working very, very hard to add seats.” Leonie Haimson, executive director of Class Size Matters, accused Mayor Bloomberg of falling far short on his promise to construct enough classrooms to alleviate crowding throughout the city. According to data from the United Federation of Teachers, the number of students in overcrowded buildings has increased in Queens. About 66 percent of students in the 2010-11 school year were in buildings operating at 100 percent of the target utilization, or above. About 57 percent of students were in the same situation in the 2006-07 school year. “This year’s capital plan will clearly not fill the need for new school seats,” Haimson said when testifying before the city Council Education Committee of the five-year school capital plan at the end of March. “For the first time, the DOE has explicitly pointed out that their estimates show a need for about 50,000 seats, with 16,186 of these seats as yet unfunded. As usual, however, the DOE’s enrollment projections remain obscure.” According to Haimson, the number of seats needed hovers more around 58,000 — 40,000 elementary and 18,000 high school seats. Haimson argued that the city’s number falls
PS/IS 277 in Jamaica will open in September with 665 seats.
An addition to PS 29 in College Point will bring another 232 seats to northern Queens. The addition will open in September and is expected to help draw down the number of students in the school’s IMAGES COURTESY CITY SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AUTHORITY classrooms. short in part because it does not take into consideration the need to eliminate trailers, which house approximately 10,000 students citywide. Of the 6,350 unfunded seats needed in Queens, School District 24, which covers schools in such neighborhoods as Corona, Maspeth and Woodside, and District 29, which covers areas including Cambria Heights, Rosedale and Laurelton, have the largest number of unfunded seats in the capital plan — 1,905 and 1,084, respectively. District 30, which covers western Queens, comes in a close third, with 1,378 unfunded seats. Still, Grillo emphasized that, in part because of pressure from the borough president, Queens is receiving more seats than other parts of the city. “Your borough president has been the flame that has ignited our efforts in Queens to build as many seats as we can,” Grillo said. “We have built more than 34,000 seats since she became borough president.” Marshall said she is pleased with the ongoing construction of seats, but said Queens remains the most overcrowded borough in the city. “We have a definite necessity for seats for our kids,” Marshall said. “We are overwhelmed here in Queens.”
A number of schools will open in 2014 as well, including 616 seats at PS 290 in Glendale and 432 seats at PS 313 in Maspeth. In Sunnyside, PS 316 will open with 416 seats at that time, and an addition to PS 70 will usher in an additional 508 seats. DOE officials stressed that the city continues to look for space for schools throughout Queens. There is funding for 880 seats in District 24 that have not yet been sited, including 180 in Maspeth, and 700 throughout the district, which also covers Elmhurst, Corona, Middle Village and Ridgewood. “District 24 is a district of tremendous need,” Grillo said. The city is looking to build a 738-seat project in the Flushing area, and a 416-seat school in Bayside or Auburndale Officials are also searching for space for a 416-seat school in the Howard Beach area, as well as a 350-seat project in District 28, which covers Forest Hills, Rego Park, Kew Gardens and Jamaica. Two projects totaling 709 seats have not been sited in District 29, which includes Cambria Heights, Jamaica, Springfield Gardens, St. Albans, Hollis and Queens Village. The city hopes to find space for three projects Q totaling 914 seats in western Queens.
Maspeth High School will open with 1,119 seats in September, which city officials say will help to alleviate overcrowding in other area high schools.
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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 6
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NEW PARKS, CHANGES ARE COMING
More greening, playgrounds and improvements readied for Queens W O
by Liz Rhoades Managing Editor
he greening of Queens is continuing and over the next few years residents should expect to see more parkland in the borough and updates to several existing locations. Queens Borough Parks Commissioner Dorothy Lewandowski told the Queens Chronicle that future plans call for a new skate park in Ozone Park, an 11-acre waterfront park in Long Island City, and a new play area in Jackson Heights London Planetree Park on Atlantic Avenue and 88th Street in Ozone Park will be getting a $1.7 million circular skate park and adult fitness area. The existing basketball courts will also be reconstructed. No date has yet been set for work to begin. The Long Island City waterfront park is still in the planning stages in conjunction with the large Hunter’s Point apartment complex going up. The park will overlook Newtown Creek. The city agency is now in negotiations with the Garden School in Jackson Heights to purchase its 29,000-square-foot playground at 34th Avenue and 78th Street and convert it to park space. It will be across from Travers Park. Getting a major renovation is the Laurelton West Playground at a cost of $1.5 million. Located adjacent to Laurelton and the Southern State parkways, the new play area
The Laurelton West Playground is getting a major reconstruction that is expected to begin this fall. It will include an interchange theme with ramps and an RENDERING COURTESY PARKS DEPT. overpass, tot cars and more. will feature an interchange theme, using play ramps and an overpass, tot cars, steel play units and swings and a spray shower. Construction is expected to begin in the fall. Set to start this summer is the reconstruction of Torsney Playground at Skillman Avenue and 43rd Street in Sunnyside. The $1.4 million project will formalize a dog run, named for the late Lou Lodati, called the “mayor of Sunnyside” with new fencing to separate it from the asphalt sports courts. New pavement will be constructed for existing softball, basketball and volleyball courts. Marconi Park at 109th Avenue and 155th Street in Jamaica is set for a $925,000 makeover. The park is named after Guglielmo Marconi, the Italian scientist who pioneered the wireless telegraph and developed the radio. Features of his
A new skate park is being designed for London Planetree Park in Ozone Park. Construction will begin at the end of the year. DRAWING COURTESY PARKS DEPARTMENT
work will be used in the park including four towers at each corner of the playground unit for climbing. The project is in design and is expected to start next year. Lewandowski is particularly excited about a $3.4 million plan to continue the East River North Shore Greenway from Rainey to Astoria parks. The 10-mile bike lanes should be ready by next spring. The PS 127 playground in East Elmhurst is getting $2 million in upgrades, including reconstructing the ballf ield. A corner of the asphalt field will have custom concrete skate equipment and a sitting area. Construction has already begun and will be completed by next spring. Mur ray Playground in Long Island City, Little Bay Park in Bayside and Van Dolan Playground in Jamaica will all be getting new comfort stations. The Little Bay project will also include adding more parking space. Flushing Meadows Park contains several cultural institutions and two
of them are getting updates. They are the Queens Museum of Art and the NY Hall of Science. By the end of next year, the QMA will be transformed with the addition of 50,000 square feet of new galleries, classrooms, public event spaces, a cafe and museum shop. The extra space was acquired when the World’s Fair Ice Rink moved to new quarters across the park in a new building connected to the swimming pool. The $65 million project includes a 220-foot illuminated glass facade and entry plaza on the Grand Central Parkway side of the building and a new entrance and expanded outdoor space on the park side. Over at the Hall of Science, work will start this summer and continue for two years on remodeling the original building from the 1964 World’s Fair. The $25 million restoration will include stabilizing and repairing the exterior, modernizing the interior and repaving and improving the terrace. Also on the horizon at Flushing
A rendering of the mezzanine of the Queens Museum of Art. An expansion and remodeling of the facility are expected to be completed by the end of next ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF QMA year.
Meadows is the plan to operate a bike and boat rental concession at the Ederle Terrace on the north end of Meadow Lake. In the past, the concession has been run near the Boathouse. Lewandowski said the boathouse area will be used primarily as a training center. At Ederle Terrace, food will also be available. Expect these changes next year. The commissioner added that roads around the lake will be reworked so cars can drive fully around the waterway. That projects will start in the fall. At the landmarked Astoria Pool, $1 million will be spent to convert the diving pool into a stage and the stands into a covered amphitheater. Lewandowski said the space will also be used for sunbathing and for exercise classes. Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year and take a year to complete. The facility will get a new roof for an additional $1 million. The Parks commissioner hopes the facility can be used from spring Q to fall in the future.
The Lou Lodati dog run in Sunnyside will consist of two areas; a large one with a ramp and a small area with a shared entry. DRAWING COURTESY PARKS DEPARTMENT
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Airlines, Port Authority dedicating billions to JFK, LAG and jobs
W O N
by Michael Gannon Editor
2011 study by the Regional Plan Association said expanding the capacity of the region’s airports is critical to allowing New York to thrive as the world’s center for business, finance and a host of other areas in the future. And while some of the plan’s recommendations — particularly for the physical expansion — have stirred up controversy, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the airlines already are working on the problem. Delta is in the midst of a $1.2 billion effort aimed at making Kennedy Airport its U.S. hub for international flights. The plan calls for the airline to move into and expand Terminal 4, increasing its capacity to 25 gates. Terminal 3, the oldest at the airport, will be demolished. In April the airline broke ground on a $160 million project at LaGuardia, with the aim of making it the airline’s main hub for business and domestic travel. It is the largest single project at LaGuardia in more than 40 years.
The airline plans to modernize its existing terminal and the former US Airways building and link them with a 600-foot connection. The project is expected to create more than 100 construction jobs and 700 permanent ones. Delta’s Kennedy project could create 6,400 jobs directly and indirectly related to the airport, and add $1.8 billion annually to the region’s economy, according to the Port Authority. Pat Foye, executive director of the PA, said in a telephone interview that a good future for the agency is good for the city. “The New York region is going to grow, with more people living here, more people working here, more people traveling here and more goods coming through our airports and port facilities,” Foye said. “The investments that the Port Authority and private companies are making will be an integral part of that growth. That’s what the Port Authority is all about.” The LaGuardia project first required a massive swap of money and gate positions between Delta and US Airways, with Delta giving US Airways slots in Washington DC and cash in return for extra slots in Queens. The transfers required approval at the federal level by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Department of Transportation and the Justice Department. Gov. Cuomo, Mayor Bloomberg, Con-
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AIRPORT PROJECTS READY FOR TAKEOFF
The Delta Airlines terminal at LaGuardia Airport will be refurbished and joined to the adjacent terminal formerly occupied by US Airways as Delta seeks to establish northern Queens as its hub for business and domestic flights. It is the largest expansion project at the airport in more than FILE PHOTO 40 years. gressman Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) and Delta CEO Richard Anderson have said all levels of government worked together to make the projects a reality. Back at Kennedy, JetBlue announced in May that it is planning to spend more than $200 million to expand and improve its operations out of Terminal 5. Much of the work, including a new, modern area for U.S. Customs inspections and
operations, is aimed at increasing international traffic. Even customer assistance is expected to go high-tech at Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark-Liberty in New Jersey next month with the installation of “hologram-like avatars” that will provide automated, basic airport and terminal information. More than 100 poles with outlets that can continued on page 24
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QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 8
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FOUR NEW LIBRARIES, FOUR RENOVATIONS Buildings add light, color, energy efficiency and much needed space THE
by Josey Bartlett Associate Editor
our new libraries and four expansions planned for the next four years will not only improve and replace out of date buildings, but also create more space for overflowing facilities, Queens Library Communications Director Joanne King says. “There are 62 locations serving 50,000 people every day. That’s more people than are at every Broadway show and sports venue combined,” King said. “Every library is full every day of the week.” The Glen Oaks library will open in the fall, Elmhurst in late 2013, Hunter’s Point in 2014 and Far Rockaway in 2015. All construction plans were approved by the design commission except for the Far Rockaway branch. King expects those to pass soon with few, if any, changes. Kew Gardens Hills, East Elmhurst, Rochdale Village Adult Learning Center and the Central libraries are going through or have a planned expansion project on the docket. The new libraries have many similar design features such as abundant natural light provided by huge windows and modern exteriors, amped-up computer spaces and lots of “green” features. Additionally, Hunter’s Point and Elmhurst both will have adult learning centers. Although some of the buildings use similar philosophies, the designers did not want the facilities to be cookie cutter. “Why should a beachfront library look the same as one in Long Island City?” King asked. Many of the old libraries were built with cinder block squares and usually painted an institutional pea soup green. “It feels like a bunker,” King said. “The new libraries have more transparency to integrate the community, so people can see in and see out.” The new branches will be certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design buildings. They will employ a combination of solar panels, water reclamation systems and green roofs. Additionally, the rooms will be equipped with motion sensors so lights don’t stay on in empty rooms. For the LEED certification a building can acquire 100 points by employing green practices. The building will be certified LEED if it gains 40 to 49 points. Silver is the next level
The Queens Library at Glen Oaks, at 256-04 Union Turnpike, opens in the fall of this year. RENDERING BY MARBLE FAIRBANKS
with 50 to 59 points. The next two levels are allows municipally-funded buildings to hire gold and platinum. The Kew Gardens expan- the best design talent. Before the start of the sion will plant sedum — a succulent, low-to- program public projects had to award the prothe ground plant— on the roof to keep the ject to the lowest bidder “Excellence in Architecture has drastically surface cool. Elmhurst may achieve a silver certification, changed public spaces over the past decade,” King said. according to King. Originally, the lot was located in a park The Queens Library at Glen Oaks will be the first of the new facilities to open. It has setting and therefore the designers wanted to operated for the last year out of a temporary maintain that feel. The Elmhurst Library has storefront while the $13 million construction outdoor reading gardens as well as an indoor atrium-esque reading of the new facility on the alcove. same site, 256th Street The facility will have and Union Turnpike, was hy should a an adult learning center, under way. which King says, is utiThe old tiny building beachfront library lized by the large immihad been added on to a look the same grant community learncouple of times and was ing English. Several starting to resemble a as one in librarians at the branch “rabbit warren, with speak multiple lanweird little rooms off to Long Island City?” guages and those who the side,” King said. — Joanne King, don’t have been trained The new library has Queens Library communications director how to communicate more customer service with hand gestures and space, a self-check-in in slower, more condensed sentences. The counter and an expanded meeting room. Next to open will be the award-winning library also has a pointing guide translated Queens Library at Elmhurst, which replaces into 11 different languages. Next to open, in 2014, is the Queens Library the 1906 facility on 51st Avenue between at Hunter’s Point, which will put an emphasis Broadway and Corona Avenue. The $27.8 million plan won a 2008 Excel- on environmental learning. In this vein the lence in Design award from the Queens Cham- design calls for a roof garden so patrons can ber of Commerce. Mayor Bloomberg started look across the East River. King said a lot has the Excellence in Architecture program, which not been decided but the library will be located on Center Boulevard at about 47th Avenue. “The area is going to have thousands of people here and there hasn’t been a library,” the charter Friends of the Hunters Point Library President Don Dodleson said. “Everyone is happy this is going to happen.” He added the idea for the project started 10 years ago. The contemporary f irm Steven Hall Architects will take the lead on the $25 million project. Plans call for a multipurpose meeting room and a gallery space. The architect also intends to create a separate building that funnels patrons to Gantry Plaza State Park. The last of the five libraries slated for completion is the Queens Library at Far Rockaway, 16-37 Mott Ave. It will be designed by A rendering of the garden cube at the Queens Library at Elmhurst. RENDERING BY MARPARILLERO POLLAK the international architecture firm Snohetta.
W O N
The $19-million-design concept calls for integrating the new library into the streetscape by using semi-blue-tinted, transparent patterned glass. The building will have two floors with a mezzanine above the second floor. It will have a separate teen area with its own Cyber Center, an adult area with a quiet room and a computer area, a children’s space and a meeting room on the second floor mezzanine. *** All the expansions are important, but the one most on the radar — because of its size and first phase completion date set for this summer — is the $9.8 million Central Library plan at 89-11 Merrick Blvd. in Jamaica. The overcrowded 1965 building will add a plaza with a coffee and gift ship as well as separate teen areas. The children’s library’s discovery center debuted last summer in an adjacent building, which opened up some space for the renovation. Construction will also add soft lighting and vary ceiling heights to help differentiate between the designated spaces. The theme is Queens-centric, with many special details. For example the help desk is shaped like Shea Stadium, and the book aisles are named after boulevards and parkways. Graphic murals fill the space with color and green and blue carpets mimic the parks and waterways of the borough. “We wanted to make the most of the bones of the building and have a design that resonates with what Queens is all about,” Design Director Keith Rosen at Gensler said. As a child, the Central library was Rosen’s branch. He said he remembers how it looked when it was new and that he wanted to update the tired building to its Q original glory.
Capital improvement vs. operating budget Funding for salaries and library programs come from a different funding stream than capital improvement projects. Therefore new building plans are separate, financially, from a proposed city budget cut that could close 18 branches, because of decreased manpower. The mayor’s budget will be approved in the next couple days.
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A STATE-OF-THE-ART POLICE ACADEMY Commissioner Kelly W says $1B facility will be O N the ‘West Point’ of training IS
by AnnMarie Costella Assistant Editor
onstruction of the new Police Academy in College Point is on schedule. It’s not ready for roll call yet, but when completed, it will be a state-of-the-art facility that will transform the way cadets are trained. No one is more excited about the project than Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who came to the Queens Chronicle office for an interview on June 7. “It’s going to be a huge facility and we are very happy that it is coming to fruition,” Kelly said. “We’ve been trying to get a new police academy for 30 years.” The facility, which will be located on a 30-acre site in the College Point Corporate Park, will be constructed in two phases due to the enormous cost — about $1 billion. It is estimated that up to 2,000 cadets will be able to train at the new academy in sixmonth intervals. Phase 1 is underway and is expected to be
completed next year. It will include three buildings — a seven-story academic facility, a two-story physical training building and a central utility structure — at a cost of $656 million. “It will be state-of-the-art,” Kelly said. “There will be a lot of hands-on training, a lot more interaction between the students and the trainers, so it will be the top law enforcement training facility in the country and maybe anywhere.” The academic building boasting a glass facade, will include classrooms, tactical areas featuring an office and a subway car for training, gyms, a pool, a field house, a running track and a dining area. The second phase of the project will take NYPD facilities that are now located in different parts of the city and bring them together under one roof, making them more convenient and accessible. Those include indoor shooting ranges, a tactical village, a police museum and housing for officers visiting
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the city’s budget, officials said. The present police academy in Manhattan was built in the 1960s and was meant to accommodate 600 men, but the size and demographics of the department have changed significantly since then, Kelly said. “We think this is going to be the West Point of law enforcement,” Kelly said. “We are going to look to bring in people from all over the country, ideally, and have them pay us to Q train police officers.”
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HERALDING A NEW ERA AT JAMAICA BAY W Queens environmentalists say area is ‘finally’ getting needed attention
Baby barn owls are among the 300 species of birds that make their home in Jamaica Bay.
Oystercatchers spend time in Jamaica Bay — 20,000 acres of water located in the country’s most populated city. PHOTOS BY DON RIEPE
Army Corps of Engineers launched a $19 million project in December 2011 to rebuild a 42-acre marsh island named “Yellow Bar Hassock,” which, when finished, will filter chemicals and provide habitats for fish and plants. About 375,000 cubic yards of sand dredged from New York Harbor is being used to restore the marsh island, federal officials said. Later this summer, the Corps of Engineers will work with community organizations, including the Littoral Society, to restore 22 acres of marsh at what is known as Black Wall in the bay, and 12 acres of marsh at Rulers Bar Hassock. “It’s important to restore the marshes, because they protect the mainland from storms and wave activity,” Riepe said. “They harbor an amazing diversity of wildlife. The marshes are one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet. Without the marshes, Jamaica Bay’s diversity would dramatically decrease.” The projects to decrease nitrogen and restore marshland are among the many aspects of the bay being explored in Dan Hendrick’s “Jamaica Bay Lives!” — a documentary f ilm by the Sunnyside environmental activist that highlights the area’s rejuvenation. There are a number of upcoming projects that environmentalists are expecting, or, at least, hoping, will happen in the near future — some of which could be detailed in Gateway National Recreation Area’s 20-year management plan, which federal off icials are now updating.
“I’m hoping that includes a lot more funding and work going into restoring the natural resources of the bay,” Riepe said of the plan. “With that could come increased kayaking access, a fishing pier, and a possible ferry system to transport people around the bay. There’s a lot of ideas right now.” Agreeing with Riepe, Mundy said he too has a long wish list for projects in the bay that would draw visitors to the area, from kayakers — who he said are already coming to the area in increasing numbers — to tourists from around the world. “We’d also love to see a transportation link from Manhattan that would allow people to use a highspeed ferry to come down to a pier in Rockaway,” Mundy said. “You could jump off in Rockaway for a bite to eat, or you could get off at Floyd Bennett Field and do some biking.” Mundy also said he would like to see the creation of an educational
center at the bay, which could be used for research, as well as to house a “solid mainstream database” manned by such area universities as Columbia or Stony Brook to detail the ongoing projects at the bay. With the financial backing from the city and federal government and the ongoing environmental projects, Jamaica Bay is being transformed into the “world-class refuge” that Mundy said he always knew it to be — a place of wild beauty in one of the world’s largest, busiest cities. It is, the environmentalists said, finally gaining the respect of city, state and federal officials, and is becoming a destination point for everyone from Queens families to Brooklyn hipsters. “Jamaica Bay is 20 times the size of Central Park, and, finally, the focus is shifting to Jamaica Bay,” Mundy said. “People are saying, ‘wait a minute, we don’t want to lose Q this resource.’”
Adult and baby great egrets spend time in a nest in Jamaica Bay.
15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
opment, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and area environmentalists. by Anna Gustafson “There’s been a tremendous focus Senior Editor on Jamaica Bay lately,” Mundy said. fter years of much “yelling and hollering” from area “There’s a big focus that’s just startactivists, Jamaica Bay is ing to take shape, and it has a signifwell on its way to becoming an icant backing from the mayor and environmental haven that will [U.S.] Parks Service, which we’re include cleaner water and restored hoping will make it easier for people marshland, as well as attract every- to gain access to it.” The state Department of Envione from kayaking-enthusiasts to ronmental Conservation and the tourists from around the world, city Department of Environmental Queens environmentalists said. “After many, many years of bang- Protection announced in June of ing our heads against the wall, we’re last year that they signed agreevery, very encouraged,” said Dan ments to “significantly” improve Mundy, president of the Jamaica water quality and habitats in the Bay Ecowatchers. “The water quali- bay. The agreements require the ty is going to be getting constantly DEP to invest about $100 million better, the marshland is being for nitrogen treatment systems at restored, the oysters are coming back four city wastewater treatment and more and more people are using plants that discharge into the bay. Numerous environmentalists have the bay.” The city’s largest open space — blamed an increase in nitrogen for 20,000 acres of water that dwarfs destroying the marshes, called the Central Park and is home to more “lifeblood” of Jamaica Bay by Don than 300 species of birds and 100 Riepe, founder of the northeast species of fish — Jamaica Bay is chapter of the American Littoral undergoing a number of projects Society, who has long fought to that will revitalize the area that has restore the area. Riepe noted that the bay’s marshbeen deteriorating for decades es took a serious beating by coastal because of “increased urbanization” and “human encroachment,” development over the years, includotherwise known as coastal devel- ing when the federal government “filled in 4,500 acres of salt marsh” to build what is now called JFK International Airport in the 1940s. “To do that would be unheard of today,” Riepe said. According to the agreement, the city will by 2020 reduce the amount of nitrogen discharged into the bay by about 20,000 pounds daily — which equals approximately 50 percent of the nitrogen entering the The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rebuilds a waters. 42-acre marsh island named Yellow Bar To further fight marshHassock in Jamaica Bay. land deterioration, the U.S.
Page 11 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 12
C M CELEB page 12 Y K
LARGE CONDOS ON THE RISE IN LIC
W O N
Restaurants and entertainment thrive with growing population
by Josey Bartlett Associate Editor
here is clearly a buzz surrounding housing developments underway in Long Island City and its Hunter’s Point section. TF Cornerstone is half-finished with its massive luxury apartment project called East Coast, located just north of Gantry Plaza State Park on Center Boulevard. The developer has put $1.1 billion into the construction of the seven buildings. Three are completed, with a final end date sometime next year. Two-bedrooms go for $3,500 to $4,000 a month. The newest tower at 45-40 Center Blvd. opened in late May. The building has 345 studios, one- and two-bedroom homes. It also enjoys access to 12 acres of waterfront parks. The 41-story building at 45-45 Center Blvd. will open in 2013 and add 50,000 square feet of outdoor space. Some of the businesses moving into the shiny buildings are Asian fusion restaurant Shi, Crank Cycling Studio and Blue Streak Wines. Nearby, shovels have dug in at the Hunters Point South project, a 5,000-unit development, 60 percent of which will be affordable to middle-income families. The 30-acre site is in walking distance to, and just south of, East Coast. In addition to the storefronts, parking, five acres of new waterfront parks and a condominium, Hunters Point South will be home to two new schools being built by the city — IS/HS 404 and PS/IS 312 at 46-08 Fifth St. — which will be completed by fall 2013 Hunter’s Point South’s first phase, which includes two residential towers and the infra-
Club owner Steve Hofstetter says Laughing Devil will add a development stage for improv PHOTO BY JOSEY BARTLETT in the neighborhood.
The Crescent Club condos, left, opened earlier this month. A rendering, center, of what TF Cornerstone’s East Coast development, located just north of Gantry Plaza State Park, will look like when completed. Hunter's Point South, a 30-acre waterfront site, will be home to 5,000 new units; 60 percent will be RENDERINGS COURTESY CRESCENT CLUB, TF CORNERSTONE AND CDEC affordable for middle-income buyers. structure for the site including storm drainage and sewer systems is planned for completion in 2014, according to Long Island City Partnership Executive Director Gayle Baron. Phipps Houses, The Related Companies and Monadnock Construction will complete Phase I. The condominium building will have 900 housing units and about 20,000 square feet of new retail space. The first phase will be 100 percent affordable housing. “The low-income housing units enable a total cadre of middle -folks like nurses and firefighters to move into the neighborhood,” Baron said. “The additional retail spots and restaurants will lead to new services and job creation.” The new housing units are a part of Mayor Bloomberg's $7.5 billion New Housing Marketplace Plan to build 165,000 units of affordable housing over 10 years. The project is managed through the city Economic Development Corp. As outlined by the city’s Housing, Preservation and Development Department, rent for a studio apartment in the buildings will range from $669 to $1,957 a month, which will be determined by a housing applicant’s salary. The highest two-bedroom rental rate will be $2,963. Applicants must make salaries of between $32,000 and $130,000 to qualify. Rent for two bedrooms will range from $1,032 to $2,963 a month; and for three bedrooms, from $1,088 to $3,421. Off the waterfront, construction will continue on the 42-story, 709-unit, Rockrose tower, which is set for completion in spring 2013. Last summer, Rockrose allowed Third Ward, a Brooklyn art center, to throw pool
parties in empty dumpsters located in Rockrose lots. Richard Edmonds, a spokesperson for Rockrose, said that similar programming might take place again this coming summer. Crescent Club, also not on the waterfront, located at 41-17 Crescent St., opened on June 18. It has an outdoor pool, a gym and a garden with spots to barbeque. The studios start at $2,100; one bedrooms start at $2,600; two bedrooms at $3,900 and three bedrooms at $4,700. Once new residents move into these large housing complexes, what will they do? Yes, the TF Cornerstone towers will have several restaurants and recreational spaces and so will the buildings at Hunter’s Point South; however, outside of the complexes the neighborhood is growing as well. Vernon Boulevard has become a foodie hot spot with places like Manducatis Rustica and Bella Via. The Thai restaurant Tuk Tuk, also on the Boulevard, has hinted at a possible expansion. On the non-food side of the neighborhood, Laughing Devil comedy club is teaming with a nearby business to open a development stage once a night. Comedians will be able to try out new jokes and the community can see veteran and newbie performers show their stuff for free. The club has made a profit each month, since its opening six months ago. Co-owner and comedian Steve Hofstetter attributes success to the “details.” As a comedian he has the inside scoop on how, for example, performers like to see the clock above the stage and have a spot to set their drinks. “We want the comedians to feel like they are part of the family,” he said. Although most of the condos advertise
being close to Manhattan for the commute, Long Island City is growing in terms of jobs as well. In August 2013 construction on a new FedEx Ground distribution center will be done. That adds 200 jobs to the area (about 80 of which are not transfers from the old facilities). Additionally, last year JetBlue moved to Queens Plaza, which brings 1,000 more people to the area— to work and to buy lunch at area vendors. Long Island City also has several large events each year. The LIC Arts Open, where galleries and studios put on special events and open their doors for two weeks, has grown. The Taste of LIC, a food sampling, fundraising event for the Chocolate Factory, has also boomed each year since its incepQ tion seven years ago.
The Taste of LIC, located next to the East Coast condos on Center Boulevard, is a fundraiser and community event that has grown each year. PHOTO BY JOSEY BARTLETT
C M CELEB page 13 Y K Page 13 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
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C M CELEB page 14 Y K
ROADS TO THE FUTURE RUN THROUGH QUEENS
NO S I
Kew Interchange under way while Kosciuszko Bridge gets a jumpstart
by Michael Gannon Editor
ith some of the oldest infrastructure in the country, it sometimes seems that every road and bridge in New York City is either under construction or should be. But help already is on the way for some of the more problematic sites in Queens. The most elaborate of those is at the Kew Gardens Interchange. Located almost dead center in the borough, the interchange is where the ramps roadways and bridges of the Grand Central Parkway, Van Wyck Expressway, Jackie Robinson Parkway and Union Turnpike all come together in a tangled confluence. But the daily delays that now plague drivers on the Van Wyck and near the expressway on Queens Boulevard are actually the signs of progress. And when there was not enough progress on plans to replace the Kosciuszko Bridge, which connects Queens and Brooklyn across Newtown Creek, Gov. Cuomo stepped in to put it on the fast track. Phase 1 of the Kew Gardens project began last year and includes widening the Van Wyck south of the interchange, along with a series of new ramps. Improvements along a section of Queens Boulevard, including an
An artist’s rendering of how the completed Kew Gardens Interchange will look from the northbound Van FILE IMAGES Wyck Expressway when completed, above, and the view from the same vantage point today.
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elevator being added to the Briarwood subway station, have been put in the project. Phase 1 will run as far north as Union Turnpike and is scheduled to be completed in 2013. The second phase, 2-a, includes more widening of the northbound Van Wyck and a new ramp to the added lanes from the Jackie Robinson Parkway. It is in its early stages and is expected to last more than four years. Part of Phase 2-a will address the replanting of trees along the route that had to be taken down to accommodate Phase 1. In all some 600 trees will be taken down, though state officials working on the project said they are required to replace them tree-for-tree along the route as construction allows. Contract bidding and startup dates for future phases will depend largely on the availability of funding in future state capital budgets. In regard to the Kosciuszko Bridge, Gov. Cuomo placed it and other projects on an accelerated schedule back in April as part of the state’s NY Works Program. The $460 million project to replace the 73year-old span linking West Maspeth continued on page 25
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ork College will be adding a new Academic Village and Conference Center, which will benefit students as well as the greater Jamaica community The 160,000-square-foot, nine-story structure will have a glass and metal facade and is presently in the design stage, according to Ronald Thomas, acting vice president of administration and finance at York. The start time of construction has not yet been determined, however, it should take five years to complete, once it begins. â€œIt will be a bright, shiny, handsome building,â€? he said. â€œIt will be a magnet that will attract attention from the street.â€? Funding for the $250 million project is included in the collegeâ€™s five-year capital budget spanning fiscal years 2013-14 through 2017-18. The building is being designed by Ennead Architects of Manhattan. The building will feature state-of-the-art smart classrooms and labs, student lounges, recreation space for student club activities, offices for student government, a conference center, exhibition gallery, career service center; bookstore, observatory and rooftop garden, as well as house the School of Business and Information Systems, and enrollment management offices â€” admissions, registrar, bursar and financial aid. â€œIt will transform the way we see the campus and the relationship between the college and the downtown Jamaica area,â€? Thomas said. â€œIt will stand out.â€? The Academic Village will be located one block away from the Archer Avenue subway station, along 159th Street between Archer and Liberty avenues.
The public will have access to the conference center, exhibition gallery and bookstore. The Academic Village and Conference Center will replace a two-story 40,000-square-foot classroom building, which will be completely demolished. Built in 1974, it is the second oldest building on the college campus, and Thomas said it was never meant to be a permanent space. It is located at 94-43 159 St. â€œItâ€™s long past its useful lifespan,â€? Thomas said. â€œWe have enrollment growth and a space deficit, and we need the space to accommodate more students.â€? He added that the schoolâ€™s population has evolved with more students taking more credits and staying on campus longer to participate in extracurricular activities that contribute to the overall quality of the college experience. The oldest structure at York is the science building, which is located right next to the one being torn down, Thomas said, but that underwent major renovations a few years ago and was modernized and structurally brought up to code. Thomas said disruption to everyday life at York will be minimal during the construction of the new building, because it will primarily take place at night, during the summer and on extended breaks when the college is closed. Classes conducted in the old building will be moved elsewhere on the campus and York will also be renting space in the community to accommodate some programs. Founded in 1967, York College, part of the City University of New York, has since the 1980s been located on a 50-acre campus on Guy R. Brewer Boulevard in the heart of downtown Jamaica. It has a diverse population of approximately 7,100 students representing at least 50 countries, from Algeria to Uzbekistan, Q and speaking over 37 languages.
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he Louis Armstrong House Museum in Corona has been open since 2003, but the plan for a visitors’ center, which dates back to 1998, will soon become a reality. Michael Cogswell, director of the museum, said Queens College, which operates the museum and the Louis Armstrong Archives, always planned for the center and has owned the empty lot across the street since 1998 — several years before the museum actually opened. The idea of the center was the reason the college devoted so much time and effort into preserving the house and Armstrong’s belongings, he added. Construction of the visitors’ center is expected to commence early next year and it should open in late 2014. Caples Jefferson Architects, which also designed Queens Theatre in the Park in Flushing Meadows Park, designed the visitors’ center. The center will have two floors and a cellar for storage. A glass front on the first floor will allow visitors to view the house.
15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 18
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Cogswell said the house museum has more than 12,500 visitors annually and he anticipates that number to jump to 20,000 after the center opens. “Once we have a visitors’ center there’ll be more to do when you’re not actually touring the house,” he said. “The point of the visitors’ center is to support the historic house,” Because of the size of the house, tour groups are limited to eight people. The new visitors’ center, about 12,000 square feet in area, will accommodate many more people and allow for more events. “We have concerts now in the summers in the garden, but we can only do those in the summer,” Cogswell said. The new center will have a space for indoor concerts that can be held year-round, which will feature live performances by jazz musicians. There will also be an exhibit area for the museum’s seven Armstrong collections. The Louis Armstrong Collection features personal belongings of the jazz great and his wife, Lucille. That collection includes pho-
The Louis Armstrong House Museum Visitors’ Center is expected to open in late 2014 as a space RENDERING COURTESY LOUIS ARMSTRONG HOUSE MUSEUM for more activities. tographs, awards, letters, scrapbooks and trumpets. Other groupings, like The Satchmo Collection, feature artifacts donated to the museum by friends of Armstrong, fans and collectors. The collections are now in the library at Queens College. According to Cogswell, they make up the world’s largest archive not only for Armstrong, but for any other jazz musician. Visitation hours for the center will match those of the museum and admission to the museum covers visiting the new center, which
will cost $17.5 million to complete. The money was provided by the city and state. “We are deeply grateful to our elected officials,” Cogswell said. “It’s thanks to their vision and support.” Queens Borough President Helen Marshall, a supporter of the museum, was one of the people who cut the ribbon for the opening of the House Museum nine years ago. “Louis Armstrong, an international Ambassador of Good Will around the world, lived right here in Corona,” Marshall said. continued on page 25
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Farm system and draft picks offer the promise of top rookies to come
by Lloyd Carroll Chronicle Contributor
lthough baseball fans are always excited by trades and big-name free agent signings, the staying power of a successful Major League Baseball franchise hinges on the development of players in its minor league system. In the Mets’ case they have no choice but to depend on their farm system, given their shaky f inances in recent years. With the Bernie Madoff situation resolved, along with the ongoing sale of limited partnerships in the team, most recently and notably to HBO “Real Time” host Bill Maher, the Mets may test the free agent market again this winter. But General Manager Sandy Alderson is not going to make the same splash in that area that his predecessor, Omar Minaya, did. It should be noted that Minaya, who grew up in Corona and graduated from Newtown High School, and is best remembered for big-name acquisitions — some of whom worked out and some of whom didn’t — put a lot of effort into the organization’s minor leagues contrary to popular belief. Minaya is now senior vice president for baseball operations for the San Diego Padres, a team with far less financial resources than the postMadoff Mets, and his charge is to rebuild their farm system.
As much as Mets fans may be disappointed by the performance so far of Minaya’s last big free agent “get,” outfielder Jason Bay, the frustration is even worse for a general manager when a prized prospect turns out to be a bust. For every David Wright, Jose Reyes, now with the Miami Marlins, Ike Davis and Jonathan Niese who has successfully come up through the Mets’ farm system, there have been far more cautionary tales, as evidenced by the careers of Fernando Martinez, Alex Escobar and Lastings Milledge, Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson. There is no question that the most touted pitcher in the Mets’ farm system is pitcher Zack Wheeler, who was acquired last July from the pitching-rich but offensively challenged San Francisco Giants, in exchange for centerfielder Carlos Beltran. Wheeler was the sixth pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, and he possesses a 95 mileper-hour fastball and throws an above average curveball. He is expected to spend the entire 2012 season with the Binghamton Mets of the Eastern League. Ranking just below Wheeler on the Mets’ minor league depth charts is 6-foot-4, 225pound Matt Harvey, who also can throw heat, though he can be tagged by opposing hitters when his pitches come in straight over the plate. Harvey, who was a star for
Mound men: Zack Wheeler, left, is the most promising pitcher in the Mets’ farm system, while Jenrry Mejia, center, may be back on the hill before the season is out, possibly joined by Matt Harvey, the ace of the Mets’ Triple-A team. PHOTOS COURTESY NY METS
the University of North Carolina Tarheels, is the ace of the Mets’ Triple-A Buffalo Bisons staff, and the odds are that he will get a September call-up to Citi Field. Jenrry Mejia’s name should be familiar to Mets fans, as at age 20 he was on the team’s Opening Day roster in 2010. Minaya thought that he had the second coming of Dwight “Doc” Gooden in Mejia, and rushed him to “The Show.” Mets Manager Jerry Manuel didn’t know whether to start him or have him
Page 19 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
METS’ FUTURE LIES WITH NEWCOMERS
pitch in relief. He did not excel at either. To compound matters he was diagnosed with a muscle tear of the right elbow and had to have Tommy John surgery in 2011. Mejia has returned to the St. Lucie Mets of the Florida State League to work on becoming a starter. He has not shown any ill effects from his surgery so far, and he may get a spot start for the Mets before the end of this season. The closest thing resembling a big bopper hitting prospect in the Mets’ system is infielder Zach Lutz, who made the 2010 Eastern League All-Star team as a third baseman. Lutz, now continued on page 30
SOME FLUSHING PROJECTS PENDING Major developments may take off in next few years, officials hope
by Liz Rhoades everal major building programs in the Flushing area may or may not get off the ground due to funding issues, their legality and the economy. Here’s what’s planned:
Flushing Commons Flushing Commons was approved by the City Council in 2010 but there has yet to be a shovel in the ground at Municipal Parking Lot 1. Plans call for a $850 million mixed-use development to replace the parking area in downtown Flushing. But raising money for it has been an issue for the developer, TDC Development, which is working with the Rockefeller Group. TDC President Michael Meyer told the Queens Chronicle recently that he expects to break ground by the middle of next year. The five-acre project will include 620 upscale condominiums, retail and commercial areas, a YMCA, a public green and 1,600 underground parking spaces. It will be located between Union and 138th streets and 37th and 39th avenues. It is expected to take about three years to complete. Macedonia Plaza Just underway is construction of the $45 million Macedonia Plaza, also in the municipal parking lot. It will offer 143 units of affordable housing in a 14-story building on the northeast corner. Retail space and a daycare center are planned for the first level. The development is being built by the Macedonia AME Church, also located in the parking lot, and the new building will be adjacent to it. The project is expected to take two years.
Artist’s rendering of an evening scene at the Flushing Commons project from 138th Street in downtown Flushing. It will replace a FILE PHOTO municipal parking lot. Willets Point The mayor’s plan to convert the rundown Willets Point area into the “next community” of Queens has taken a new turn. Though the project was approved by the City Council in 2008, the city dragged its heels on picking a developer until two weeks ago. At that time, Bloomberg announced that Sterling Equities, the real estate firm controlled by the owners of the Mets, and The Related Companies, a developer, will develop 23 acres of Phase 1. The plan calls for adding a hotel, stores and parking on
Tennis Center The U.S. Tennis Association announced recently a $500 million plan to update its Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park. It will be carried out over an eight-year period, following the city’s land use review process. Work is not expected to begin until fall 2013. Plans call for demolishing the Louis Armstrong Stadium, at the northeast corner of the property, which will be replaced by a larger stadium. It was built for the 1964 World’s Fair as the Singer Bowl. An adjacent grandstand will also be razed and replaced with a larger facility. The transportation center and northwest parking lot will be replaced with a larger parking facility and new transit hub. The northeast lot will be replaced with a larger parking garage. And seven tournament courts will be relocated. The plan would require the city giving up three-quarters of Q an acre of parkland.
15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
126th Street, across from Citi Field. That will be followed by building a large mall called Willets West and parking on the existing Citi Field parking lot. Phase 1 work will conclude with constructing more retail and office space, 2,500 housing units and another hotel in Willets Point. The projected starting date for the residential area is 2025. But it will be at least three years before work begins because a new environmental impact statement and approvals from the City Council following lengthy hearings are needed. Then, the city will pay $100 million for demolition, remediation and other improvements before work can start. Members of Willets Point United, who oppose the project and do not want to move their businesses, have vowed to keep up the legal attack against their plan.
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BOWNE HOUSE TO GET BIG UPGRADES
O N IS
Restoration and visitor’s center plans may soon come to fruition
by Kori Tuitt Chronicle Contributor
he Bowne House in Flushing, a haven of 17th-century history and a symbol of religious freedom, may begin its restoration as early as this fall, according to Rosemary Vietor, president of the Bowne House Historical Society. Vietor said the Parks Department put the project plan out to bid on June 12, and the target date to make a decision on the restoration contract is July 12. More than $4 million was allocated for the restoration in both public and private funding. Borough President Helen Marshall, Comptroller John Liu, former Assembly members Ellen Young and Barry Grodenchik and former state Sen. Frank Padavan all contributed. She added that Marshall would like to see the project completed before she leaves office at the end of next year. The restoration process is expected to take 12 to 18 months to complete, Vietor said. The Bowne House opened as a museum in 1947, when the BHHS
bought the home, a year after the historical society was founded. The last changes made to the house were done during the 19th century, Vietor said, so it is relatively in the same condition throughout. It shows a combination of both Dutch and English architecture. The restoration process consists of four phases. Phase one, which was completed privately by the BHHS a few years ago, included making repairs to the foundation of the north side of the house and conducting a historic structures report. This report requires extensive research on the house and included the history of the BHHS and the Bowne family. “The purpose of that is to guide the restoration process,” Vietor added. Phase two, which Vietor said she hopes will start this fall, consists of making repairs to the house’s exterior. That includes replacing the cedar wood roof and the siding of the house. Work on the plumbing, heating and electrical aspects of the house are phase three. The final phase comprises interior finishes, including painting. Phase five involves landscaping work,
but is not necessary for the opening of the historic site. Vietor also mentioned plans for a visitor’s center designed by James Dickson Architects, which will replace the deteriorating garage. It is expected to be built after phase two is completed. “The idea for it is to be a modern building and it will complement the structure of the house,” she said. The center is expected to be 900 square feet in area. It will have handicap-accessible restrooms, collections relevant to the Bowne family history and a meeting space for the community. “We have a huge database of our collection,” Vietor said. “We can only put so many things in the house at one time.” The house has about 5,000 historic artifacts that were left in the dwelling. These include documents, clothing, textiles, paintings, furniture, china, cooking equipment and more. The house was closed in 2000 for the restoration, which was not completed sooner because of lack of funds.
The Bowne House is expected to undergo a full restoration starting this fall, which may take a year and a half to complete. Plans for a visitor’s center are FILE PHOTO also in the works. It finally opened again in December of last year for guided tours. “Even though we’ve been closed, we have a steady stream of people who want to visit from all over the world,” Vietor said. She added that the typical visitation a year is between 3,000 and 3,500 people and expects that num-
ber to increase once the visitor’s center is open. “There’s really nothing comparable,” Vietor said of the house. “It dates back to the 17th century — the oldest house in Queens.” The house was lived in by nine generations of the Bowne family, continued on page 30
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FREE SYNAGOGUE OF FLUSHING Sunday, July 22 at 10 am - 5 pm Sunday, June 24 at 10 AM - 5 PM
OUTDOOR FLEA MARKET
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Stock up on one-of-kinds, antiques,
Stock upand onnew one-of-kinds, antiques, vintage clothing, and everything vintage and new and everything else in between at clothing, the Outdoor Flea Market beingOutdoor held on Sunday, else in between at the Flea July 22,being Augustheld 26 and 7 from 10:00 Market onOctober Sunday, June 24, am to 5:00 pm. Vendor space is still available for the July, August and October dates. July 22, August 26, and September 23 Please contact the synagogue for details. from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Vendor space is still available for the July, UPCOMING EDUCATION August, and ADULT September dates.CLASS: PleaseHEBREW Thursdays, August 9 through October contact the synagogue for details. 4 – 7:30 pm
The Patient Pavilion will open in September and will feature modern facilities for children at RENDERINGS COURTESY ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside.
ST. MARY’S EXPANSION IS NEARLY COMPLETE
As part of his annual series of education at Free Synagogue, Cantor Steven Pearlson invites you to come and learn Hebrew. No knowledge whatsoever of Hebrew is required for the course. Thursday evenings Wednesday, June 20 at 6:00 pm starting on August RUSH HOUR CONCERT 9 through October 4 When work a different from 7:30 pm ends, to 8:30 experience pm. kind of rush hour on Wednesday, June Registration required. The cost is $5.00 per session for non-members 20 at 6:00pm by heading over to the or prepayment for all classes is $40. For more information, please email synagogue to hear a free classical firstname.lastname@example.org or call (718) 961-0030.
Patient Pavilion to open this fall, almost doubling the hospital’s size he expansion of St. Mary’s Hospital for Children is almost complete, with the Patient Pavilion scheduled to open Sept. 27. The $114 million construction project, begun in the fall of 2010, will create an enhanced rehabilitation and living area for the THE patients. It will add approximately 80,000 square feet in area to the hospital, almost doubling the size of the facility, which is currently about 90,000 square feet. Plans for an expansion were made in 2007, but there was conflict with nearby residents who opposed the construction, saying it was a quality-of-life concern.
The new fitness center will accommodate many therapeutic activities, including aquatic therapy.
musical concert. COMMUNITY HEALTH AND WELLNESS FAIR Sunday, August 19 – 10 am to 4:00 pm We will be hosting a Community Health and Wednesday, June 27 at 12:00 Noon Wellness Fair WITH on August LUNCH & LEARN RABBI 19 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. There will be a host of free services offered. More details to come.
ONGOING EVENTS IN JULY Weekly in June
Tuesday - Rabbi Michael’s Meditation Class 7:30 pm
Tuesdays: Mindfulness Meditation at 7:30 PM Friday - Shabbat Service 8 pmat 8 PM Fridays: Shabbat Evening Service Saturday Informal - TorahWorship Study &10:30 Saturdays: Toraham Study at 10:30 AM
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15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
The facility will be located behind the current building and will feature several modern aspects, including wireless technology. Indoor and outdoor rehabilitation services will be offered on the first floor and beds will be on the other four floors. The rehabilitation wing inside will include a pool for aquatic therapy and a dining area. The wing will also have an area designated for patient-staff interaction. An outdoor play area, in the rear, was designed to accommodate several kinds of therapeutic activities. Children will relearn to walk on the walking track, with broken curbs and concrete ensuring the realism of what they will face on the streets. To create a pleasant atmosphere, the outdoor area will be heavily landscaped. Family members will be able to stay overnight in the soon-to-be family suites. The hospital will be adding 58 more parking spaces to reduce parking on the street, and the entrance will be modified to allow traffic to move more smoothly when making pickups and drop-offs. Once the Patient Pavilion opens on the campus at 29-01 216 St., all the children will be relocated to the new building, while the old one undergoes its own renovations. “It’s rebuilding the building to better accommodate the children’s needs,” said hospital spokeswoman Leslie Johnson. The school on site, PS 23, which was supposed to be temporarily in trailers, has been housed there for nearly 30 years, Johnson said. Once construction begins, the school will be integrated into the old building, which she added, will provide a better educational environment. That facility will still offer food services and daycare space. continued on page 30
by Kori Tuitt Chronicle Contributor
Page 21 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
CALENDAR OF EVENTS AT
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What do our politicians want to see in the next few years?
he Queens Chronicle asked a number of City Council, state Senate and Assembly members what projects they would like to see come to fruition in Queens in the next few years. Here’s what those who responded had to say.
Councilman Mark Weprin (D-Oakland Gardens) “In the near future, CornellNYC Tech’s new applied sciences campus will be up and running on Roosevelt Island. I look forward to seeing the tremendous influence it will have in Queens. CornellNYC Tech is the campus being developed by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology; it was announced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in December that the two universities had won a bid for the project, to be established in partnership with the city. With CornellNYC Tech coming to Roosevelt Island, potential for economic growth extends far beyond the island’s borders, and Queens is poised to become a destination for startup technology companies. “As a member of the City Council’s Economic Development and Technology Committees, I recognize that CornellNYC Tech will create tens of thousands of new jobs, and it is estimated that 600 companies will be generated from the tech campus, creating as many as 30,000 additional jobs in startups. Startups are newly created companies, often technology oriented, with the potential to be the next big Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare. Over time, those numbers escalate, and if we capitalize on the investments CornellNYC Tech is making, then we can make Queens the new tech capital of the world. “While there will surely be new jobs, housing, and businesses on Roosevelt Island, the spillover effect will bring benefits right into our own backyard since graduates, professors, and researchers are likely to set up shop in Queens. Those among today’s most brilliant minds will come up with new ideas that give way to business success. Think of JetBlue Airways, based in Queens. Started in the late 1990s, the company has brought tremendous changes to the air travel industry. In February, while visiting Israel with a working group of my council colleagues, I saw firsthand that Israel has become one of the leaders in startup companies with numbers surpassing those of even Japan and China. When ambitious individuals start new companies, they provide a boost for the local economy as well as for their own futures. Queens can follow the same path that Israel took to becoming a startup nation. Innovation once led the United States to the forefront of the world economy, and it can take us there again, with Queens leading the way.”
State Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Jamaica) Sen. Malcolm Smith has a vision for a “Downtown Queens,” in Jamaica and Long Island City which would have a distinctive combination of commercial and residential activity, along with multiple tourist attractions and a groundswell of cultural and artistic expressions. This will be the bedrock of a sustainable jobs package for taking Queens residents into a more prosperous 21st century. Smith has a vision of AirTrain-style rail connecting both Queens airports to downtown Manhattan, as well as to the new vibrant Queens central business and cultural hub. Smith has a vision that all of Queens will be a wireless hot spot that will enable residents to connect to the Internet wherever in Queens they are. Smith has a vision for increased charter and vocational schools. State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside) “The development of the College Point Fields Park has been a longstanding dream of the College Point community. It is my hope that within the next three years, this project will f inally be completed. During my tenure in the City Council, I was able to secure millions of dollars in funding for this project. Under my watch Phase I, which consisted of two baseball fields, a roller hockey rink and a park house, was completed and opened in late 2003. The main component of Phase II, which began construction in 2009, consisted of a muchneeded new synthetic turf soccer field with lighting and two new natural turf baseball fields with an electronic scoreboard. The final phase will include the installation of a track field. “Two other parks projects that I was involved in during my time in the City Council that I would like to see completed within the next few years include the construction of new bocce courts in Bowne Park and the installation of a comfort station in Little Bay Park. While bureaucratic delays have stalled the project for all these years now, it is my hope that this project will soon be shovel ready. “Projects that I would like to see initiated within the next few years include Smart boards in every classroom in my district, a gym for PS 35 in Hollis, the expansion of public libraries such as Douglaston and Bellerose, and the installation of additional traffic controls for the College Point Corporate Park to alleviate congestion for residents in Whitestone, Malba, College Point and Mitchell Linden.”
State Sen. Joe Addabbo Jr. (D-Howard Beach) “We need to create new job opportunities, promote job stability and increase economic development. Aside from my job fairs, the next one being Oct. 19, I believe we can seek additional job creation at both Resorts World and The Shops at Atlas Park. “We need greater investments in education for our children. I’d like to see less crowded classrooms, more schools and the creation of anti-bullying programs for our young people in kindergarten through high school. On a broader educational community note, I would like to see our local libraries funded sufficiently to stay open longer during the week, restore weekend service and offer more programs. “Senior citizens need better access to quality health care and should feel confident that senior centers will be adequately funded to remain open. “Because Queens has seen four hospitals close in recent years and is underserved medically, we need to take action to ensure that hospitals have the resources they need, while continuing to seek additional health care sites and to reopen those that were closed, like Peninsula Hospital in Far Rockaway. “There are a number of quality of life issues in the 15th Senatorial District that need constant attention. We need reliable transit service on bus and train lines, including service in Howard Beach and Rockaway, and on Metropolitan Avenue from Ridgewood to Middle Village. I want to keep our firehouses open, ensure that all our volunteer ambulance corps are funded and operating, and make sure that we have enough police officers assigned to our precincts.” Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) “As a lifelong Bayside resident, I am proud to be the Assemblyman for the 26th District and represent Northeast Queens. Preserving the character of our neighborhoods is very important to me and I feel fortunate to live in a community where so many civic groups are working to improve our district. “A community improvement project that I believe would be beneficial is the Douglaston Village Strategic Action Plan. This multiphase project would work to add more public spaces within Little Neck and Douglaston, as well as further develop its streetscape and create several public plazas. The project would also install clock towers and benches, place better signage near the Little Neck/Douglaston Long Island Rail Road station and transform the upper train station
area into a public square. I think it would be a great addition to the neighborhood because it would further solidify a sense of community by offering a gathering place for Little Neck and Douglaston residents. “Although the project would take several years to complete, I am confident that the Douglaston Village Strategic Action Plan would revive the Douglaston Village commercial area, which has experienced a decline in recent years. The community has been working to see this project come together and I am looking forward to its completion.” Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) “If we’re serious about revitalizing our economy, creating new jobs and protecting the middle class, then we need to make a greater investment in the future of our community. Over the next few years, the residents of my district have a lot to look forward to. From developing modern affordable housing for seniors in Howard Beach to working with City Planning to rezone Ozone Park, we have an incredible opportunity to preserve the character and integrity of our neighborhoods while at the same making sure people can still afford to live here. “The City Council has also funded many capital projects, that when completed, will renovate local parks, playgrounds and libraries. All of these improvements to our quality of life are made possible by the taxpayers of New York City.” State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-Jackson Heights) “It was a tremendous disappointment to learn that Gov. Cuomo’s plan to build the largest convention center in the United States adjacent to Aqueduct Racetrack wasn’t going to work out. Willets Point has numerous significant advantages over other alternative locations under consideration. We need to capitalize on that and seize the opportunity to bring thousands of construction and permanent jobs to Queens. “Roosevelt Avenue has the potential to be a modern, thriving commercial district, a magnet for city residents, visitors and tourists who already travel through the area by the millions every year on their way to and from major events held nearby. To rehabilitate Roosevelt Avenue and create job opportunities, we need a level of commitment, from city and state government, as strong and as determined as what we saw invested in the transformation of Times Square. I hope to help secure that kind of commitment, which I believe will be made easier by the development of Willets Point.”
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Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Queens, Bronx) “I would like to see the Elmhurst LIRR Station reopened. This is an effort I have been working on and would result in many great benefits for our community now and into the future. Reopening the station will increase residents’ access to Midtown, help create jobs in the community, and provide an economic boost to the many small businesses in the area. It will also open the door for all New Yorkers to experience the rich diversity and culture Elmhurst has to offer.”
Councilman James Sanders Jr. (D-Laurelton) “Our community has built a tremendous amount over the years, but there is still much work to be done. In the years to come, there are several projects that I hope the 31st Council District will see through to completion. Among the most pressing is the Brookville-Edgewood trian-
pled with public greenspace. Like any abandoned historical site, this place has stories that need to be told — most notably, the tragic plane crash that happened here in 1977. “And Flushing, of course, has a rich history, dating back to John Bowne, Peter Stuyvesant and the Quakers, to the Flushing Remonstrance to the American Revolutionary War. What better place to celebrate this history than here, at the neighborhood’s old airport?” Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas (D-Astoria) “I would like to see the completion of the Repowering Astoria project, which would support power plants looking to burn cleaner, and the passage of the New York Family Leave Act, which would allow women to take six months off from work after childbirth without worrying about losing their jobs. “Repowering Astoria will clean the air and produce additional power which is sorely needed — as we have seen with blackouts in recent history. The project also creates 500 local jobs, which is important in a tough economic climate.”
Councilman Danny Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) “The physical environment on Roosevelt Avenue between 69th Street and 114th Street is a symbol of urban decay. For decades now, The MTA’s negligence has been a significant contributor to the poor conditions along this important corridor. That is why I am calling on the MTA to correct the blight they have caused this community to suffer for far too long. “One major project that I would like to make sure is completed by 2015 is the complete facelift of the elevated subway line along Roosevelt Avenue, which has not been painted in over 30 years. The paint on the trusses is all cracked and peeling off, creating a health hazard for thousands of New Yorkers and contributing to an atmosphere that attracts criminal activity. We also need additional lighting under the tracks to improve visibility for pedestrians. “Roosevelt Avenue in many ways is the ‘World’s Main Street,’ but the failure of agencies like the MTA prevent it from reaching its full potential. I am working closely with state Sen. Jose Peralta, Assembly Member Francisco Moya and Council Member Julissa Ferreras to make sure that by 2015 we can restore some of Roosevelt Avenue’s prominence.”
State Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) “Two of the many goals I would like to achieve by 2015 are the completion of a new grade school in Woodside and improved 7 train service. There is nothing more important than a solid education for our children and this community has had to deal with severe overcrowding in our schools, particularly as more families move to western Queens. Similarly, as Sunnyside, Woodside and Long Island City continue to grow, more stress will be placed on the already slow, heavily used and often unreliable 7 train. I stand with the community in support of improved 7 train service and am hopeful these problems will be alleviated in the coming years.”
Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) Planes haven’t taken off from Flushing Airport for almost three decades. The growth of nearby LaGuardia made it obsolete. These days, we don’t need a third airport in Queens – but we’re neglecting this space in the middle of College Point. “Since being decommissioned in 1984, Flushing Airport has become a thriving wetland and bird sanctuary. We should preserve these wetlands and grow the area into a soft recreation space. And this could be the perfect location for a nod to the history of Flushing and College Point, cou-
Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside) “The new library at Hunter’s Point in Long Island City is a project I’ve been working on for well over 10 years — from when I worked for the Queens Library. As Council Member, I’ve allocated several million dollars to make this library a reality. The addition of this new branch to the Queens Library system will provide neighborhood children with access to invaluable programs and services. This 20,000-square-foot architectural gem will be a community hub that will be well-utilized. From its free educational and cultural programming, to its 150-seat interior multipur-
pose space; to its communal reading garden and its lookout over the East River on the rooftop terrace, the Hunter’s Point Library will be an oasis of learning in Long Island City. One which our borough will be proud of for decades to come. “Secondly, I would like to see the Queensbridge Park seawall restored. The seawall, which has been off limits due to structural damage sustained through years of neglect, will once again connect local residents to the East River. The people of Queensbridge deserve to have their waterfront just as beautiful and accessible as any park throughout New York City. I am proud to have allocated a significant amount of funding to the restoration of the seawall. Once the project is completed, Queensbridge Park will shine even brighter as one of the jewels in the crown of Wester n Queens Parks.” Assemblyman Francisco Moya (D-Jackson Heights) “With Major League Soccer looking to expand in New York City and a growing population addicted to the world’s game, the time has come for a dedicated soccer stadium within the city. And there is no better place for it than in Queens. “A soccer-only facility could surely seal the deal, and Queens is the perfect location for many reasons. Most important of all, the fans are here. As the son of immigrants from Ecuador and a lifelong soccer fan, I know f irsthand how passionate Queens residents are about soccer. In cities with successful professional soccer franchises, new immig rant communities for m the backbone of the fan base, including DC United and the Los Angeles Galaxy. The same would surely happen in Queens. Finally, Queens is a prime location — within easy reach of the entire city and Long Island and home to the busiest international airport in North America. “A dedicated soccer stadium would also benefit the people of Queens, both financially and culturally. “For starters, building a world-class soccer arena in Queens would bring thousands of good-paying construction jobs, with tens of millions infused into the local economy. Going forward, Major League Soccer matches, international exhibition games and other events, as well as mixed-use retail at the new facility, would bring needed dollars and permanent jobs to the borough. MLS reported that a similar soccer-only stadium in Kansas City will have a $500 million annual economic impact and help create 8,000 jobs. “Soccer would also have indirect and profound benefits for the people of Queens. Consider the increased emphasis on healthy alternatives for children and the improved focus on after-school recreational opportunities. And a pro team would bring worldcontinued on page 24
15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Ozone Park) “Southern Queens is on the cusp of something great, but, to be successful we need to continue pushing ahead with transportation and economic development improvements. That means investing time and energy into projects that will make our area more efficient, effective and appealing. In order to do that, we must give great consideration to rehabilitating the Rockaway Beach Rail Line and despite what the governor has said, moving forward with plans to open the Resorts World Casino and Convention Center at the Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park. “Created at the turn of the century, the Rockaway Beach Rail Line was owned and operated by the Long Island Rail Road. Unfortunately, in the early 1960s, parts were condensed, sectioned off and eventually closed, and as time went on, the abandoned tracks were vandalized and encroached upon. “Nonetheless, a lot has changed since the rail line was abandoned. Queens has seen a large boom in population, and as roads and bridges fall into disrepair and need maintenance, more and more construction projects pop up to further delay travel. Commute times between Southern Queens and the Rockaways to Manhattan can take up to two hours, if not longer. Our families deserve better, and restoring the Rockaway Beach Rail Line is the perfect alternative. Once rehabilitated, the commute to Manhattan would be cut down to 45 minutes and we’d see an increase in the number of travelers to Queens, be it for the racetrack, beaches or any of the other wonderful attractions in our borough — all of which would help create stable jobs and allow small businesses to thrive.”
gle project, which will completely upgrade the storm sewers in the Brookville area and provide much needed flood and drainage relief to communities and residents throughout the area. Storm sewers are a vital component of collecting and disseminating runoff from heavy rains, as our community sits so near the ocean and our water table rises very easily. The project is part of a $571 million capital improvement project by the city of New York and is scheduled to be completed by 2014. “In addition, I look forward to the eventual opening of the Rockaway Supermarket in Arverne, and to ongoing efforts to upgrade and rebuild libraries throughout my district, including adding additional floors and computer space for both children and adults.”
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Page 23 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
ENVISION THE FUTURE
QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 24
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Officials envision the future continued from page 23 class soccer players right to our neighborhoods, giving the next generation of children a sense of hope and instilling the confidence needed for our kids to be successful. “As the momentum behind Major League Soccer in New York City continues to grow, it is time to act. The people of Queens are ready, willing and able to support a team. It begins with a dedicated soccer stadium.”
Assemblyman Mike Miller (D-Woodhaven) “As a means of getting rid of ill, elderly, or otherwise incapable horses, it has become practice for horse owners to put these horses in claim races. The result is an increase in the number of horse collapses on race tracks in recent years. As The New York Times reported on March 24, 2012 in their report titled ‘Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockey.’ “On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills. This bill seeks to end this practice by forcing horse owners to only put forth horses that are capable of finishing a race without assistance and passing an examination by a veterinarian.”
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Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) “In the coming years, I eagerly anticipate Astoria f inally being provided with a performance space befitting its thriving arts community. “The long-neglected dive pool in Astoria Park, a mosquitoattracting eyesore, will soon be transformed into one of the most majestic outdoor performance spaces in New York City. I have already provided over $1 million towards the completion of the STMC-058450
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Airport projects continued from page 7 be used to power personal electronic devices also will be installed at the three airports this summer. From an infrastructure standpoint, the Port Authority is planning the modernization and expansion of Runway 4L-22R at Kennedy; and is looking for partnerships with a business or businesses in an effort to replace LaGuardia’s central terminal, built in 1964. The new complex could call for an investment of more than $3.6 billion. “The current central terminal can’t service
O N IS
theater, which will be the first of its kind in Astoria. “Nestled between the Hell Gate and Triborough bridges, with amphitheaterstyle seating and views of the East River and the skyline at sunset, it will conjure contemplations of the theaters of ancient Greece and Rome. The pool’s signature three-level diving board will remain and also be refurbished as part of the amphitheater. “Astoria currently has many great performance groups and artists of all ages scrambling to find space, and this theater will soon enable them to offer top-notch shows to large audiences.” Assemblywoman Marge Markey (D-Maspeth) “I want to see more support for the dedicated organizations that work to improve and enhance the commercial shopping districts of Western Queens. For example, in Maspeth where the Grand Avenue commercial corridor is the heart of the community, I want to see more diversification in the mix of retail businesses that will strengthen this street that is so important to the vitality of our community. I also want to see the Grand Avenue environment transformed to improve the shopping experience by enhancing the streetscape and reviving beautif ication and cleanup efforts that have been so successful in the past.” Several officials declined to send us their wish lists, despite repeated requests. Those were City Council members Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills), Elizabeth Crowley (D-Middle Village) and Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), and Assemblyman Q Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills).
today’s larger planes,” Foye said. “One way to expand LaGuardia’s capacity is to replace the central terminal with a facility that allows access by large jets to the terminal. He said the current timetable calls for construction to begin in 2014, but that the agency is trying to expedite that, adding that the work would be done in stages over five to six years. PA spokesman Ron Marsico said the central terminal project would result in more than 6,000 construction jobs alone. And Foye said the involvement of private companies will reduce the amount of funding that the PA must raise itself. “The next five to 10 years are going to Q be exciting,” Foye said.
CELEB page 25
continued from page 14 and Greenpoint will begin in 2014 with the existing structure still in place. Traffic should start using the new structure in 2017. One bridge — or specifically one bridge ramp — that New York City’s Department of Transportation is not talking about is the one coming off the Ed Koch/Queensboro Bridge in Long Island City. The ramp has been the launching point for four cars that have plummeted off the roadway since mid-2011. Two of the accidents have resulted in fatalities. Owners of two businesses that were damaged by falling vehicles — the Espinal Caribbean II restaurant and the Villa De Beaute hair salon, which have been damaged twice — have since shut down and are suing the city, as is one of the drivers who survived a crash. Since 2011 the DOT has added rumble strips, a speed board, a curve warning, lights, reflective tape and road striping. But in a statement issued by his office on June 18, state Sen. Mike Gianaris (D-Astoria) said he isn’t overly impressed. “As a vital link between Manhattan and western Queens whose use increases by the day, the Ed Koch-Queensboro Bridge serves as the gateway to Queens,” Gianaris said. “The fact that there have been four accidents in the exact same place within one year makes it apparent that more must be done to enhance safety at the bridge’s off-ramps.” The senator said he is continuing to urge the DOT to rework the traffic pattern “so that those visiting, living and working in the area are no longer threatened by projectile vehicles coming off the bridge.” In a statement issued last December, the DOT told the Queens Chronicle that the ramp’s geometry had not changed since 2007. Agency officials did not respond to messages seeking comment for this story on existing ramp conditions or future design and Q construction plans.
continued from page 18 “We will always be proud of him and his legacy and the new visitors’ center will be part of that legacy. I am proud to have provided $3,369,000 for the new building.” Armstrong, a New Orleans native, and his wife moved into the house in 1943. By that time Armstrong had already traveled across the country and was internationally known for his music, including in Europe and Africa. Despite his fame, he still decided to move into the middle-class neighborhood. They were the second owners of the house. Satchmo died in his sleep in the master bedroom of the home in July 1971. His wife continued to live there until her death in 1983 while on a trip in Massachusetts. Three years after Lucille Armstrong’s death, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation gave the house to the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and donated all his personal belongings to Queens College. In 1988, the house was named a New York City landmark. The Louis Armstrong Archives opened to the public in 1994, several years before the home became a museum. The restoration of the house began in 2002, and it opened to the public in Q October 2003.
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Roads to the future
O N IS
SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW Hopes for historic tennis stadium, and a new atrium for Borough Hall
by Michael Gannon Editor
he old stadium at the West Side Tennis Club and the atrium under construction at Borough Hall are a study in contrasts. The latter will be the first major modern addition to Borough Hall since it was constructed in 1940, a modern structure of glass and metal that city officials hope will add some ambience, atmosphere and utility to the 72-year-old municipal building. The tennis stadium is an iconic 1923 structure that Queens residents, officials and preservationists want to save if there is the willingness to do so. If interested parties can raise the money. And if it is not already too late. The atrium is in its initial stages of construction in the garden courtyard area behind Borough Hall at 120-55 Queens Blvd. in Kew Gardens. Depending on which source is quoted, the project will cost between $14 million and $17 million. It will take about a year to complete once heavy construction begins. By contrast, Borough Hall itself took nine months to complete at a cost of just over $1.6 million in 1940 dollars. Dan Andrews, a spokesman for Borough President Helen Marshall, said the building’s occupants are working around the noise of earth movers now, but that they are excited about having the addition under way. And Andrews said it will serve as far more than an aesthetic addition to the build-
ing. “You’ll have a glassed-over public space that will provide a venue for concerts, ceremonies, small graduations and meeting places for people looking for a special venue. It will look out on a picturesque landscaped area, and will be protected from weather and the elements.” A bonus, he said, is that Borough Hall is readily accessible by both car and public transportation. The construction startup was not without controversy, however. In late March the city removed nine cherry trees from the courtyard area behind the building. The city initially said they were removed in order to clear the way for heavy construction equipment, but then said the trees were diseased. NYC Park Advocates has been seeking paperwork from the city to determine how it reached the decision to remove the trees. On the other hand, if any decisions have been made on the future of the old tennis stadium, officials and members of the West Side Tennis Club are keeping a very disciplined silence. The concrete and steel building was the f irst of its kind in the country designed exclusively for tennis. Bill Tilden, Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and an up-and-coming kid named Roger Federer dazzled appreciative crowds in the horseshoe-shaped, 14,000-seat building. Entertainment luminaries who have performed there include Frank Sinatra, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan.
“I saw Diana Ross there once,” city Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz said. “It was great.” But 35 years of neglect combined with exposure to the elements have left the stadium structurally unsound. The Landmarks Preservation Commission last year cited the state of deterioration as one of the reasons for rejecting landmark status. Repairs and the required code upgrades will be costly. The club has sought proposals from developers in recent years, the most recent efforts last fall. It is known that in the last three years the club membership has rejected two overtures from Forest Hills-based Cord Meyer believed to be in excess of $9 million. Cord Meyer has proposed preserving the famous facade while constructing apartments or condominium units. Another developer that submitted a proposal last fall, the Stadium Arts Alliance, has business ties with the Aviator Sports and Events Center located at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Stadium Arts proposed restoring the stadium and leasing it from the club for tennis matches, hockey games and other outdoor activities. Neither club officials nor representatives of the Stadium Arts Alliance could be
reached for comment for this story. Koslowitz, Andrews and Michael Perlman, chairman of the Rego-Forest Preservation Council, all said they have heard nothing but unsubstantiated rumors about a deal to develop the stadium when they have heard anything at all. Perlman hopes for something along the lines of the Arts Alliance proposal, which would offer a venue for athletic contests, concerts, art exhibitions and other outdoor gatherings. “I’m hoping they will go through with restoration, and create something that can be reused by the club and the community,” he said. “The community and history will benefit from it.” Koslowitz said redeveloping the stadium as a public venue would be fine with her — up to a point. She recalled one specif ic heavy metal concert that disturbed neighbors through sheer noise, to say nothing of the traffic and litter that resulted. “It would bring people back to Forest Hills,” Koslowitz said. “They would eat in our restaurants and shop in our stores. That’s what happened when you had the U.S. Open here. But it would have to be the right kinds of events. It would have to be events consisQ tent with the neighborhood.”
It is my honor and pleasure to serve the people of the great borough of Queens. If I can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office. JOSA-058491
QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012 Page 26
CELEB page 26
JOSEPH P. ADDABBO, JR. New York State Senator District 15
“We are proud to join with the Queens Chronicle in Celebrating Queens” Assemblyman
Mike Miller The West Side Tennis Stadium hosted royalty from the tennis and music worlds for more than six decades. The building has fallen into disrepair ever since the U.S. Tennis Open pulled up stakes PHOTO BY MARIA FITZSIMONS and relocated to larger environs in Flushing Meadows Park.
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NYHQ CANCER CTR. EXPANDING FACILITY Will provide all services W in one location for O N patients and doctors IS
by Liz Rhoades Managing Editor
ew York Hospital Queens in Flushing is working on a plan to expand its Cancer Center so that patients can go to one location for all their treatments. Stephen Mills, president and CEO of the hospital, said that the goal is to have one physical facility for diagnosis, treatment and surgery. Although the hospital recently raised $1 million at its gala for the center, it will cost several million dollars and no timetable has been set for construction. “The sooner the better,” Mills said. “Patients don’t want to leave Queens. They want to be treated here. It makes it easier for the doctors and the patients.” The location for the addition is the north side of the hospital on Main Street near Kissena Corridor Park. Mills would like to acquire the Hess gas station, adjacent to the hospital, and said the cancer center would be attached to the existing NYHQ radiation center because the equipment there cannot be moved. Mills said it’s possible that an addition could be located where the loading docks are now, near the gas station, but that more property would be beneficial. NYHQ sees more than 2,000 cancer cases a year. Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, director of the Cancer Center and chairman of the Department of Radiation Oncology, hopes construction will start in four to five years. Nori has been with the Cancer Center since its creation 18 years ago and says the unified location will allow patients “to get high-quality care without running around” adding, “There’s no need to travel to Manhattan.” He noted that the hospital has 50 to 75 oncology doctors on board in all 18 specialties, from brain to pelvic cancer. Nori added that certain cancers, particularly breast and prostate, are on the increase in the area, primarily due to age and other demographic factors. “Breast and prostate cancers are often age-related and there are a lot of older people in the Flushing area,” Nori said. Awareness has improved for breast cancer, he added, but
NYHQ colon cancer outreach at Cathay Bank in Flushing.
vigilance is especially needed for some populations who may not be as attuned to the health issue as other groups. Mills added that the hospital already has a Chinese breast surgeon and will be adding a liver cancer specialist this summer. Liver cancer is also high in the area, primarily in the Chinese community. “Many from China contracted hepatitis C as children and 25 to 30 years later it comes back as liver canNew York Hospital Queens would like to expand its Cancer Center by taking over the Hess gas cer,” Nori said. PHOTO BY ADRIANA LOPETRONE Dr. Mitchell Chorost is asso- station and building an addition to the hospital. ciate director of the center and director of the Division of Surgical Oncology, who left a suc- nized with an Outstanding Achievement Award from the cessful program in Brooklyn two and a half years ago to join Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surthe NYHQ center. “Queens needs this,” Chorost said of geons. The award was for diagnosis, treatment and outreach. Cancer survivors gathered Friday at the hospital for a celeexpanding it. “Everything will be in one place and patients bration of life. David Krietzer, a two-time survivor, told the will receive coordinated care.” He added that the comprehensive care of cancer patients audience of about 150 people that he was treated successfully becomes complicated because people are working and have for Hodgkin’s disease 30 years ago and many years later families. “They have to go to several doctors and get tests. developed upper esophogeal cancer. “The doctor told me I The road to treatment is complex and we’re trying to navigate had six months to live,” Krietzer said. He then read an article about a doctor in Queens who does them,” he said. Not only will a centrally located center be easier for peo- internal radiation and “that doctor was Dr. Nori. He treated ple to utilize, it will cause less stress, the surgeon said. “Can- me and I’m here,” Krietzer said. “I went from six moths to live to being good.” cer patients don’t need to add stress,” Chorost added. Helena Falletta, who has been operated on for several canCommunication is also important and he believes treatment starts “with people talking together. It’s patient-cen- cers at NYHQ, said “They always give me hope here that I tered care and we have started that with the doctors talking can live.” For information on the Cancer Center call (718) 670-1900. Q together,” he said. The surgeon acknowledged that cancers can evolve from the environment, genetics, diet and “some reasons we don’t know.” Environmental factors include smoking that leads to lung cancer and sun exposure causing skin cancer. “And yet we see older patients who have smoked all their lives and never develop lung cancer,” Chorost said. The center also has an award-winning outreach program. Nurses go to neighborhood locations and health centers to inform the public about different types of cancers, what signs to look for, prevention and where to get treatment. The program is funded through a $270,000 state grant for three years that ends next year, but is so successful that the hospital has been told it will be extended. Mills said the grant allows hospital workers “to be out there, helping to uncover cancers and channeling people to Dr. Dattatreyudu Nori, right, director, of the NYHQ Cancer Center the proper doctor.” Nori is also proud that the and chairman of Radiation Oncology, with patient Ramon Tirado. PHOTO COURTESY NYHQ PHOTO COURTESY NYHQ Cancer Center has been recog-
C M CELEB page 29 Y K Page 29 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
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continued from page 20 starting with John Bowne, who built it around 1661. The last Bowne descendant lived in the house in 1945. When 17th-century New York Gov. Peter Stuyvesant banned Quakers from holding religious services, in an attempt to increase attendance at the Dutch Reformed Church, Bowne welcomed Quakers to his house, where he hosted meetings allowing the residents to practice their religion every Sunday. After town officials found out about the illegal meetings, they immediately told Stuyvesant. Bowne was arrested soon after and taken to lower Manhattan, then called New Amsterdam, where he was declared guilty. His penalty was a fine, but Bowne refused to pay it and said he would not stop using his home as a place for Quakers to worship. As a result, he was jailed in a dungeon — a punishment meant to let him think his actions over. He had been imprisoned for three months, but he still would not pay the fine nor would he leave the province, so he was deported to Holland, where he appealed the decision, this time in front of the Amsterdam Chamber of the Dutch West India Company. The next day he was acquitted and permitted to go back home, where the people were finally granted religious freedom. Bowne’s stance made the house a symbol of religious freedom in the United Q States.
continued from page 21 St. Mary’s is nearly 140 years old, but used to be elsewhere, and the Bayside building is about 60 years old. The hospital is dedicated to caring for children with medically complex conditions. On average, a child’s stay is three to five months, and children are usually roomed in groups of four or five. Johnson added that the antiquated building is “not the best environment for them right now.” The Patient Pavilion will not increase the number of beds, which stays the same at 97. But the new building will feature single- and double-bed rooms. This will help provide privacy and space for families, whose children are oftentimes encumbered by bulky equipment. “It works hand-in-hand with care,” Johnson said of the new building. “It will make their stay in the hospital better.” She added that although St. Mary’s cares for about 4,000 children daily, the goal is not to hospitalize them longer than necessary. She said the majority of the care is done in the children’s homes to encourage independence. St. Mary’s is the only hospital in New York City that provides long-term rehabilitation facilities for children who have substantial medical needs. “Every aspect of the campus fosters a healing environment,” Johnson said. “It’s meant to be a home within a home.” Q
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hitting ability is in question, however. The Mets’ other first-round pick, Purdue catcher Kevin Plawecki, is a big guy with power whose defensive skills and game-calling ability, while not great, are good enough to get him to the majors, according to “Baseball America,” whose editors compare him to another PolishAmerican catcher, A.J. Pierzynski of the Chicago White Sox. If most of the aforementioned minor leaguers come up through the system and play well for the Mets, the future will be Q bright indeed at Citi Field.
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Transit retiree gives his home a makeover, thanks to Housing Rehabilitation Assistance pleted by HRA-approved contractors are done to the homeowner’s satisfaction.” Soto certainly is. “I’m quite pleased with the work and would definitely recommend them to anybody interested in spending a little money to fix up their house,” he said. Soto’s home, built in 1920 in a hilly section of the Bronx, provides a perfect example of how utilizing HRA can help the homeowner. Though solid overall, it had a roof that leaked for years, a drafty foyer, some bad floor joists and a small kitchen that needed a modern makeover. It wasn’t that Soto wanted to upgrade the home he’s lived in for 27 years just for himself. With his daughter and his grandchildren having moved out for a place in the suburbs a few years ago, he’s decided it’s getting near time to sell. So he needed more curb appeal and a more inviting interior, one where the kitchen and foyer matched the quality of other rooms he remodeled himself over the years. He will miss his home, but Soto has been retired for nearly 23 years and says it’s time to move to an apartment where someone else can take care of the maintenance. “I’m fixing it up for the next owner,” he said. “It’s cozy and I love it, and if it wasn’t for the snow and the grass and everything else, I’d stay here. But I don’t need a house. It’s just me; the kids are gone, and it’s time to move on.” Until he does sell, Soto’s enjoying a new level of comfort and style provided by those HRAapproved workers he’s so glad to be employing. The first thing they did was replace the roof, taking care of the
leaks. On the inside, the kitchen was the first part of the project to be finished. Formerly a bit drab, it now features new granite countertops and complementary floor tiles in soft, eye-pleasing earthtones, rich real-wood cabinets, a ceramic brick backsplash and wall treatment, a gleaming stainless steel stove, new lighting, energy-efficient windows and a new door. “I love these cabinets; they still smell like wood,” Soto said as he made himself dinner one recent night. “These are not the cabinets you buy in your local Home Depot. And the ceramic brick is beautiful; it’s a beautiful selection.” It’s not just the parts you see that have been upgraded, though. The HRA-approved crew removed and replaced all the walls, the floor, the joists below it and the ceiling. Because the home had settled over the years, when they replaced the rafters they also had to raise the floor. To make up for the difference, they then lifted the ceiling a little, allowing those new wood cabinets to fit as well as they do. Since the kitchen juts out of the rear of the house, and none of the second-floor rooms are above it, they were able to make the adjustments without causing any other issues. That’s how it is with the contractors HRA supports — they respond to whatever unique needs a client has. The only thing Soto decided to change after the kitchen was done was the color of the door, so he was repainting that when he received a visitor recently. Soto just couldn’t resist getting in on the work somehow. “I love projects,” he said. In the foyer, which looks out over the hilly street, the crew
Soto’s HRA-approved contractors replaced inefficient windows in the foyer with a beautiful new bay window, adding tremendously to his home’s curb appeal.
Soto enjoys his cozy new kitchen, but decided to repaint the door. — ADVERTISEMENT —
Rich wood cabinets, granite countertops and ceramic brick make Tito Soto’s kitchen more inviting than it’s ever been. removed the old ceiling, walls and front windows. They replaced any beams that had rotted because of the leak and put in a beautiful new bay window that gives the home’s curb appeal a major boost. Since there’s nothing like a first impression, that window alone will have a big impact on prospective buyers. “It’s a tremendous, tremendous difference,” he said. “Without a doubt, just seeing it adds value to the house.” Like many HRA clients, Soto found out about the program through a card that came in the mail. Deciding it was worth checking out, he called and met with HRA representatives, who explained how the program works.
“They were very amiable,” he said. “They make you feel comfor table, because it is a big investment.” He received financial assistance for the window treatments and help with getting the loan that covered most of the project, and has remained in touch with his HRA representative as the work continues. “I would recommend them to anybody,” Soto said. To find out if you qualify for the Housing Rehabilitation Assistance program, just call HRA toll-free at 866-791-6302. Tell them you read about the great job they’re doing for Tito Soto, and they’ll be sure to give you the same level of excellent service.
New windows in the kitchen not only make it more appealing but also reduce energy costs and provide Soto with a tax break. ©2012 M1P • HOUR-057480
15TH ANNUAL CELEBRATION OF QUEENS • 2012
Tito Soto likes to see people working, especially in these difficult times. So when he decided it was time to do major renovations on his house — more than he could do himself, though he’s always working on some project or another — he was glad to hire the crew of construction workers that has been doing the job. “They’re hardworking guys, very hardworking guys,” said Soto, who learned something about hard work during his 32 years as an electrician for the MTA. “I’m happy to be putting people to work with the way the economy is. I told them every day, ‘I’m glad to see you guys working.’” Soto didn’t select the crew all on his own, however. The company was prescreened for him by the group that helped make the entire project — and the jobs it created — possible: Housing Rehabilitation Assistance. HRA is the organization that’s helping homeowners all over the city and on Long Island do the home renovations of their dreams, by not just screening for the best contractors but working with banks to get the loans for major projects, finding extra financial assistance for clients who qualify, explaining the tax breaks that come with energy-efficient door and window treatments and new insulation — and ensuring that the job is always done right by holding contractors’ payments in escrow until clients cer tify that they’re absolutely satisfied. “The services offered by the HRA extend beyond just financial assistance for home improvement projects,” an administrator with the program explains. “We have implemented numerous processes to ensure that projects com-
Page 31 QUEENS CHRONICLE, Thursday, June 28, 2012
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